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Combo Drug Therapy May Work Best to Strengthen Bones: Study
Date:5/14/2013

By Dennis Thompson
HealthDay Reporter

TUESDAY, May 14 (HealthDay News) -- A new combination drug therapy for osteoporosis appears to increase bone density more effectively than any treatment now on the market, according to the results of a small clinical trial.

Researchers found that postmenopausal women experienced significant amounts of bone growth by taking a bone-building drug called teriparatide with denosumab, a targeted therapy drug used to stop bone loss.

"A combination of these two medications increased bone density more than either does on its own, and it is more effective than any currently approved therapy," said study author Dr. Benjamin Leder, who is with the endocrine unit at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston.

The 12-month study, published online May 15 in The Lancet, was funded in part by the drugs' makers, Eli Lilly and Amgen. It involved 94 postmenopausal women being treated for osteoporosis, a bone-thinning disorder common in old age that makes bones more likely to break.

Researchers divided the group into thirds, with one third receiving a combination therapy of teriparatide (Forteo) and denosumab (Prolia), and the rest taking one medication or the other.

Those treated with both drugs enjoyed significantly better results than those receiving just one. For example, bone density measured at the lumbar spine increased 6.2 percent with teriparatide alone and 5.5 percent with denosumab alone, but combination treatment resulted in a 9.1 percent increase. Bone density at the hip increased 4.9 percent with the combination treatment versus 2.5 percent with denosumab and 0.7 percent with teriparatide.

Bones are in constant flux, with one set of cells forming new bone while other cells break down bone through a process called resorption. After women go through menopause, resorption begins to outpace the formation of new bone, leading to bone thinning and an increased ri
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